Many webmasters and marketers are using the Google URL Builder to create campaign specific URLs to better track performance of online campaigns through email, banner ads, twitter and more. But what they don’t know is that each time they create a URL, they are creating a new, unique URL for the landing page and are creating a canonicalization issue.
Lets say you have a landing page for a campaign at www.snowshovels.com/be-prepared.html. Now this landing page is being used in multiple campaigns and one of them is an email campaign to your Northeast customer base. So, you head over to the Google URL Builder tool and get a URL back that reads www.snowshovels.com/be-prepared.html?utm_source=ne-email-db&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=be-prepared1.
It is not that far reaching of a thought that someone will eventually post the URL built by Google URL Builder to a website highlighting your great deal on snow shovels. What now happens is that Google and other search engines pick up on two unique URLs for the same content and begin splitting link equity between the two pages, even though we as human users know they are the same exact page the search engines need to be specifically told so.
To resolve this issue webmasters need to begin implementing the Canonical Link Element into all of their site pages. It doesn’t matter if they are currently being used in a number of campaigns or not, it will help to gaurentee that in the future there is no page confusion.
Here is what a canonical link element looks like: <link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.snowshovels.com/be-prepared.html” />
This tag clearly defines that the http://www.snowshovels/com/be-prepared.html page is the main canonical URL and for any other URL derivative that could be created for the page. This elimates search engine confusion with potential duplicate content and gaurantees that link equity is passed to the correct page.